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COVID-19: Making an Unmarried Partner Visa Application Under Lockdown

Every year, many individuals from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) receive immigration permission to enter the UK to live with their UK based partner. This also applies to unmarried couples. This is possible because, under UK immigration rules, a person who is not married or in a civil partnership can join their partner who is settled in the UK. The current challenge, however, is that due to Coronavirus lockdowns around the world, UK immigration application centers are closed, and millions of people are unable to leave their own countries. In this article, we will consider the latest advice for anyone in this difficult situation.

How is COVID-19 affecting applications for unmarried partner visas?

COVID-19 and the lockdowns currently in place around the world are having a significant impact on applicants and their loved ones. Many individuals have been and remain unable to leave their home countries to be with their UK partners due to local and national travel restrictions. Furthermore, most international Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed – for further information, please see the TLS contact website if you’re in Europe, Africa, and parts of the Middle East, or the VFS global website for all other countries. If you are able to enter the UK having been given leave to enter, you should note that at present there is also a requirement to self-isolate for fourteen days on arrival.

For those who are currently in the UK who would have normally been required to return to their home country to apply for an unmarried partner visa, under new COVID-19 related guidance from the UK home office, you can currently apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa (this only applies up to the end of May 2020 – however this may be extended further).

Another area of concern is where the financial requirements for the UK based spouse can no longer be met due to COVID-19 related financial problems. Unfortunately, job losses and reduced income have become a reality for many in the UK. No clear guidance has yet been issued by the Home Office on this matter and at present, the minimum income requirement must still be met.

Related Article: Read ‘Non- EEA unmarried partner visa frequently asked questions (FAQs)’ here

What is the unmarried partner visa?

The unmarried partner visa is part of the UK family visa route and allows non-EEA unmarried and same-sex couples who have been in a committed and serious relationship with a settled person in the UK to enter and live with their partner. The UK based partner (also referred to as the sponsor) must either be a British citizen, be settled in the UK with permanent residency, have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or settled status (i.e. for EEA nationals), or have UK humanitarian protection or refugee status. In addition, the Home Office guidance SET05 states “the rules on unmarried and same-sex partners also apply to partners of sponsors in the UK who have limited leave to enter or remain in the following categories:

An unmarried partner visa does not allow the holder to remain indefinitely, however, once five years of continuous residence in the UK has been reached, it will then be possible to apply for ILR.

Am I eligible to apply for an unmarried partner visa?

In order to apply for an unmarried partner visa, you must have been in a relationship with your UK based partner for at least two years, and you must both be 18 years or over and intend to live in the UK for the long-term (i.e. there is a clear commitment from both parties that they will live together permanently in the UK immediately following the outcome of the application). You will also need to demonstrate that:

  • you meet the English language requirements
  • you can financially support yourself and your dependants - your UK based partner must earn at least £18,600 per annum (or has this amount in savings) – if you have children, a further £3,800 is required for the first child plus £2,400 for each additional child who is not British, settled or an EEA national
  • you must have suitable accommodation available for you, your partner and any dependants

When submitting your application for an unmarried partner visa, it will be essential that you provide sufficient evidence that you have been in a long-term relationship with your UK based partner which is akin to marriage / civil partnership. The guidance used by case officers to decide unmarried partner applications states that applicants are required to provide “six pieces of correspondence addressed to him/her and their partner at the same address as evidence that they have been living together during the past 2 years. The items of correspondence should be addressed to them jointly or in both their names. If they do not have enough items in their joint names, they may also provide items addressed to each of the other individuals if they show the same address for both of them. The documents provided must be originals and should be spread over the whole 2 years; they should also be from at least 3 different sources”. Such evidence may include correspondence relating to bank accounts, investments, rent agreements, mortgages, council tax bills, or utility bills.

Final words

The current COVID-19 pandemic is placing partners who are unable to be together under considerable emotional strain. While it is hoped that the immigration system will start to return to a semblance of normality in the near future, it is still not clear when this will happen. Each country has its own rules on travel, and some may not lift travel restrictions for many months to come. If you are unsure of your position, speak to immigration solicitors. They will listen to the details of your case and advise on your best course of action.


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Reiss Edwards Awards

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Lexis Nexis
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Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge
ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija dealt with my case and I found her very professional and experienced in dealing with my application. The care and attention to detail was exceptional. I would definitely recommend Reiss Edwards!".

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into steps that are easy to follow. Cruised to 3 successive wins on my Tier 1 graduate/entrepreneurship visa which allowed us to play our part in making the UK a better and healthier place!".

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

Hakeem Salam

"I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them".

Top Notch Immigration Service

"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them".

Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation".

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, I was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that I wasn't disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle their case, contact Reiss Edwards".

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

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